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Mystery of the Eikon

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Mystery of the Eikon

Have you ever pondered the mystery of the Eikon? Ever wondered what those faces were thinking and listened for an answer?

"Fine Art imagery has always had a special place in my heart. Both inspired Old Masters, the forerunners of fine art and Eikons, forerunners of today's Prophetic Art, capture and release a power through creativity that still reaches out from their canvas today, centuries later to impart a vision of human commonality, eternal life, and hope, that strengthens faith and continues to fire artistic passions of all genres!" ~ Vicki L Thomas

On a personal note, one of my favorite artists quotes sums it up for me. "A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." ~ Paul Cezanne

As an allegorical painter, when creating Eikons of PaintingSong, I specifically use expressionism to delve into the hidden mysteries of color to create mood and emotional energies to convey the conversation of the painting. The more familiar one is with Scripture, the easier to decipher the painting. Thus, by adopting the analogy, "PaintingSong," (also interpreted "worship"), I am persuaded that all paintings sing a song that the heart can hear with the eyes. This may be hard to wrap one's head around, but being an artist, I enjoy the liberty of thinking out of the box! Even at the cost of sounding a little crazy.

When asked to break down the process I use in general for Eikons of PaintingSong, I usually answer, "Follow the flow of the Spirit." That may sound somewhat cryptic, but that's the instruction I feel keeps me on track and give me the courage to address a blank canvas. A word of warning, though, just to let you know how I think: I am a hunter, not a farmer. The hunter chases a rabbit through the woods, over several various rabbit trails until the active rabbit hole is finally discovered. Whereas, a farmer plows in methodical rows, back and forth until the work is done. He knows where he is, where he's going, how to get there and what to do when he finally arrives at the end of it all. He seldom makes detours, keeping to his intentional path in order to get the job done.

I, on the other hand, am definitely an unrestrained hunter whose ways are unpredictable and baffling. At times, I apparently get lost while trying to find the right tracks to follow. So, I hope that gives you some insight to the "artist way" of my art. In the process, everything is seemingly unrelated and confusing, more like a left-over puzzle piece than an actual picture of the puzzle. I know what the end result should be, but have no idea of how the pieces fit. Actually, this is a great example of one of my rabbit trails! (I'll try not to lose you on this meandering walk through the woods.)

"Responsive Creativity." It begins really here. Often, I am moved by an attitude of worship accompanied by a prompting desire to paint. In gentle response to silent inner worship that rises like a cloud of incense on the altar of my heart, creativity begins to flows in return from the Creator! It's in this moment that both my passions meet: my passion for Christ and my passion for art.

"Intuitive Approach." I simply "go with the flow" allowing my intuitive instincts to direct my tools until the image is fully developed. Instinctively choosing the combination of colors and techniques is not always fluent nor easy. I simply have to remember to consciously "let go" and let the image speak to me as though giving directions for the next move. It is exciting to watch the painting mature through its various stages of color combination and spiritual nuances. We are after all, as Scriptures tell us, co-laborers with God, and we're admonished to defer to one another, not always insisting on our own way. Thus, the intuitive approach is a wonderful discipline to apply: specifically in yielding to the Spirit.

Sensing the mood of the painting as it develops continually requires sensitivity, patience, and the ability to accept failure on perhaps several attempts, while searching for that "feels right" foundation. My particular art has to come from the Spirit, the inner communication between Creator and creation, rather than skill and talent alone. In fact, these are indeed necessary elements; but in truth, they must not over-ride the invisible, intuitive nature that reveals the soul of the painting. As far as I am concerned, that help can only come from Holy Spirit. All creativity produces life: living or dead. Which of the two manifests, depends on the guidance of the artist as a conduit as to which direction it will go.

"Interpretative Expressionism." A simple stroke of color can change an angle, change a mood or create a new depth of insight into a particular feeling or perception. Color touches the soul and conveys a wide range of emotions, moods, and feelings. Color evokes thought. Accordingly, color can often introduce random associations with simplicity, power and clarity, causing each viewer to identify differently with the painting. A simple color is a fantastic communicator of the invisible, but tangible forces in our lives.

This part of the process is the hard part: interpreting the conversation of the icon. With Eikons, "reading the icon" as it is called, is actually a science. Iconography is a study of the identity, details, symbolism, interpretations, associations of word/color meanings of the images within the painting, including religious influences and spiritual nuances. Next, one should determine "the message" that the art conveys by applying the appropriate choices and thus, interpret this inspired conversation through its symbolism, color, and reference.

"Iconic Influences." It is in this particular decision that I take an incredible artistic liberty to write my own iconic versions. Iconography is more about the writing (painting) of the meaning of the symbolism in its understanding, rather than the physical painting; it is identification, description, and the relational interpretation of the content of images instead of a particular style.

Deliberately varied and slightly reminiscent of these ancient icons, Eikons of PaintingSong contain a more futuristic portrayal of Christ as presented in the book of Revelation, including glimpses of His walk in ordinary life. The whole matter of Scriptures is to reassure us that regardless of where or how we walk, He is always with us, surrounding us with loving kindness and eternal grace, complete with instructions in righteousness. However, from the stern expressions usually depicted in the early icons, one might be convinced that it only reflects the Godhead's grave disapproval or impending judgement, rather than to understand the implied seriousness of absolute regal authority, autonomy, responsibility, reverence and worship due Creator-God as He watches over His creation from the heavenly realm. Kings mean business, they are not court jesters!

Ever had a time when all Mom or Dad had to do was give you "that look" and you knew you had better straighten up, or watch out! here comes the spanking. All I am saying is that FatherGod and Christ our elder brother, look out for us. On occasion we need help. One stern look from God and the devil cringes in horror, knowing that the spanking is coming and it won't be fun. There are as many ways as necessary to "read" an icon, depending on the message God is speaking and one's point of view and relationship with the Godhead. Simply, it's all about communication and relationship.
Much like the icons of old, Eikons are a strategic form and forum of prophetic art in today's world. Eikons of PaintingSong are created (as it was pointed out to me) with the contextual combination of both a devotional and sophisticated philosophical, theological experience and understanding of Scripture displayed in an expressive and contemporary voice, both spoken and unspoken.

Personally, I seek to present Jesus Christ glorified both in the fellowship of his suffering and in the power of His Resurrection. This is why I chose to include transparent watercolor Eikons that are so spectacular and realistic in the representation of his suffering which is displayed in the passionate painting "No Greater Love." In another watercolor, consider how the view of "Sacrifice" epitomizes John 3:16.

However in artistic contrast, one cannot overlook the brilliant color of saturated, suspended pastels Eikons. Intensely powerful, they highlight the revealed glory of His Presence throughout the remainder of the project. We know from Scripture, Jesus was a man, not much to look upon, but the beauty of holiness was evident in everyday life in the goodness and gracious deeds and ways of expressing the love Christ carried within and performed without, continually offered by the manner in which he lived.

So I again I ask, "Have you ever pondered the mystery of the Eikon? Ever wondered what those faces were thinking and listened for an answer?"